Thursday, April 21, 2005

The League of Ordinary Gentlewomen

Up: Anna slept for seven hours last night!

Down: Anna and I have thrush, probably caused by my antibiotics from the mastitis.

The thrush is not fun. It's like burning in my breasts, with shooting pains up the sides. Again, never in my life have I had so much attention focused on my boobs.

Speaking of boob-attention, I did the unthinkable today. I, Ellen, attended a La Leche League meeting. Ten weeks ago, when I was having my breastfeeding nightmare and desperately trying to glean information from the LLL's book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, wild horses couldn't have dragged me to one of those meetings. Honestly, that book made me feel like a huge failure. I couldn't master the "womanly art." But, my friend Rebekah was going to a meeting and invited me. I was in the midst of this thrush business, so I thought, "What the hey." I am open to any suggestions for getting rid of this darn infection.

And it was actually fine and quite helpful. Most of the women there were normal, down-to-earth women who just like to hang out where there isn't any stigma of whipping out your boob. There were maybe two women that gave me cause to raise my eyebrows. The first such woman was breastfeeding her three year old. I'm sorry, but it's just a little strange to me to see a child running around playing with the other kids, then from time to time, waltze over to lift up his mom's shirt to nurse. But whatever floats your boat.

The second woman went on a co-sleeping tangent for about ten minutes. I do not co-sleep, personally. It would probably be a lot easier to do the nighttime nursing thing, but a) I have not been able to comfortably figure out the whole side-nursing thing yet and b) neither of us gets any real rest sleeping together. I know that it is probably very sweet and bonding to snuggle next to your baby all night. But I am a better mother when well-rested. If I was even slightly on the fence about this, hearing the other women's sleep dilemas pushed me back over onto my non-co-sleeping side. One co-sleeping woman had an eighteen month old that still woke up to nurse FOUR times a night. FOUR. And I was complaining that Anna wasn't sleeping through the night at six weeks! Rebekah and I both raised our eyebrows at that one.

Rebekah and I have had an interesting experience with this whole motherhood thing. We have been complete opposites at every turn. I struggled with infertility; she had an oopsie. I had a great pregnancy, great birth and a heck of a time with a colicky, fussy baby. She had an exhausting pregnancy, traumatic birth but a dream baby who has been sleeping through the night since two weeks. I have lost too much post-pregnancy weight; she is trying to get more off. I was always Miss Managed Medical Care Non-Granola/Attachment Parenting; she was all herbal, all natural and Bradley Method home birth. Well, I am now attending La Leche League meetings, researching slings and finding Grapefruit Seed Extract to smear on my breasts; she is starting to see the benefits of medication and the medical establishment. I guess it just goes to show how much motherhood rocks your world. To quote Julia Sweeney, "And God Said 'Ha.'"


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